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World Bank urges reforms for Georgia to compete globally

Thursday, July 3
The World Bank’s office in Tbilisi released a report on June 30 which urges post-Soviet countries to accelerate reforms that boost their economies’ productivity.

“[A] rise in productivity in the region has brought higher sales and more profits to businesses so they can pay more in wages and invest in new technologies,” said Roy Southworth, World Bank country manager in Georgia. “At the same time, it is critical that the countries of the region do not relax, but rather build on this success and become even more productive.”

Of the post-Soviet states transitioning from a planned economy to a market economy, Georgia experienced one of the sharpest contractions in output after independence. By the mid-1990s, the country’s GDP was roughly a third of its 1990 level, according to the state statistics department.

Reforms since 2004 have improved productivity by opening up the economy and squeezing out inefficiencies, a World Bank statement said.

Luca Barbone, the director of poverty reduction and economic management for Europe and Central Asia at the World Bank, said more reforms are needed to maintain the productivity gains.

“[To] compete globally, [reforming states] need to do more to spur innovation, enable workers to become more mobile, and invest more in research and development,” he said.